Friday, 18 October 2019

Recent Recoveries

Here is the pick of the recoveries that have come through in the past four months or so.

Two Kestrel records have come in, both concerning birds found and taken into care. The first, found on the road in Marton near Gainsborough in June, had originally been ringed in Girton in the nest in 2014. Unfortunately this bird died as a result of its injuries. The other had originally been ringed as a chick in Lambley in 2016 and was taken into care in nearby Calverton in August.

A Black-headed Gull, ringed on the Gull Island colony at Attenborough back in 2010, was found with injuries and released onto a local water-body in Wellingborough, Northants in July this year.

An Attenborough Grey Heron, ringed as a chick in 2015, has been seen alive and well 4 years on on the reserve.

Ringing activities at Holme Pierrepont this summer have resulted in a good run of recoveries and controls:
  • A Reed Warbler ringed at Icklesham in 2018 was recovered at HP in July, and another ringed at Cottam in August this year was captured on site 11 days later.
  • A Blackcap originally ringed at Wymondham in Leics in August was caught on site on 1 September, and a Blackcap ringed in July on site was captured on 14 September at Stanford Reservoir. 
  • A Chiffchaff ringed in July was also caught by ringers at Stanford on the same day.
  • A Garden Warbler, caught on 16 July, was controlled 3 weeks later at Titchfield Haven on the south coast.
  • A Cetti's Warbler, ringed initially at Marsworth Reservoir near Tring on 13 August, was caught on site in October, one of many young Cetti's Warblers caught on site this year. 
  • A Great Tit, ringed in July, Hit a window in Carlton in September.
Away from Holme Pierrepont, another Great Tit, ringed at Brackenhurst, Southwell in January 2017, was controlled by ringers at Langford Lowfields in June this year.

Skeletal remains of a Robin, ringed at Bestwood in January this year, were found in Wakefield, Yorks, in June. Another Robin, ringed in 2014 in Kev's Garden in Toton, was caught by a nearby cat in June. Similarly, a Coal Tit caught at the same site on Christmas Eve of 2018 was also caught by a cat a week before the Robin met the same fate.

Tom

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Holme Pierrepont, Thursday 10 October

Mick T, Gary, Duncan, Sophie and I went to the Grange end this morning to close the site down for the year and remove all the poles and guys at the end of the session. The conditions were breezy from the start with mainly clear skies. We set 11 of the usual 12 nets with three MP3s playing warbler calls. Catching was quite brisk to start but the rising sun and increasing wind made us finish a little earlier than usual. The only migrant warblers caught were a singe Chiffchaff and a couple of late Reed Warblers. It was nice to catch a control Cetti’s Warbler and a new male Sparrowhawk (a female was also around), but the biggest surprise was a Nuthatch in the net when we went to take down. To the best of our knowledge this was the first Nuthatch ringing record for Holme Pierrepont since we started here in 1979.

We ended with a total of 47 birds including 13 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Sparrowhawk 1/0, Dunnock 1/0, Wren 7/2, Song Thrush 1/0, Reed Warbler 2/0, Chiffchaff 1/0, Cetti’s Warbler 0/1, Blue Tit 6/5, Great Tit 6/2, Long-tailed Tit 3/3, Nuthatch 1/0, Goldcrest 1/0, Reed Bunting 4/0. The oldest retrap was a Great Tit from 2017. Overhead was fairly quiet, no winter thrushes in evidence but a Jay and Raven did go over.

Kev




Sparrowhawk & Nuthatch (K. Hemsley)

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Barn Owls still going...

Since August I've gone back to boxes where Barn Owls either bred, failed or often breed. So far I've ringed over 50 chicks and I haven't finished checking them all. This included 27 chicks in the Vale of Belvoir last week. Also, two possible broods in mid October. Mick P also ringed a brood of 5 the other day and Howard has reported much the same. It's been a good second half!

Jim

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Ringing Round-up: September

Here's a round-up of September's ringing activities. The warblers have virtually all gone now and we finished our operations at the Blotts end of Holme Pierrepont yesterday.

Holme Pierrepont Blotts 01/09/19 – The team consisted of Tom, Duncan, Holly, Sophie, Mick T, Gary and me. It was sunny with an increasing breeze. Warblers made up the majority of the catch with 65, 40 of them being Blackcaps. The subsequent encounters were all birds ringed this year, plus a control Blackcap.

Ramsdale Park Golf Centre 03/09/2019 – Breezy and sunny conditions, not ideal for this site but a relatively decent catch made considering the conditions. Duncan, Mick T and I put up the usual line of nets. Warblers made up the majority of the catch again with 28. The oldest subsequent encounter was a Blue Tit from 2017.

Holme Pierrepont Blotts 08/09/19 – Carried out by Duncan, Holly, Sarah, Sophie, Alan, Mick T, Gary and me. Plenty of warblers again in the still and sunny conditions. Warblers made up the majority of the catch again with 45. The subsequent encounters were all birds ringed this year, plus a control Reed Warbler.

Holme Pierrepont Grange 10/09/19 – Carried out by Gary, Mick T and me. Still but mostly sunny conditions. The first time for some weeks that warblers did not make up the majority of the catch with just 23 caught. We did have another new Cetti’s Warbler which is the 17th new bird of the year and with three retraps from previous years making twenty individuals - our best ever yearly total by some margin. The oldest subsequent encounters were a Long-tailed Tit and Blue Tit from 2018.

Holme Pierrepont Blotts 15/09/19 – Carried out by Holly, Alan, Duncan, Sarah, Mick T, Gary and me. A still morning that started sunny but then became overcast later on. Warbler numbers were much lower with only decent numbers of Blackcap and Chiffchaff and the only other warbler caught being a single Willow Warbler. The oldest subsequent encounter was a Blue Tit from 2016. Nice to get a Spotted Flycatcher, the first at the sight since 2011.

Ramsdale Park Golf Centre 19/09/2019 – Very still and sunny conditions but a relatively decent catch made again. Duncan, Mick P, Gary and I put up the usual line of nets. Much as last Sunday the warblers were all Blackcap and Chiffchaffs apart from a single Willow Warbler but they did make up half the catch. The two subsequent encounters were both from the previous visit.

Holme Pierrepont Blotts 21/09/19 – The last visit to this end of the site this year was carried out by Mick T, Gary and me. A light breeze and clear skies to start the morning, the breeze picked up as the morning went on but never got troublesome - but the sun did and it was very warm by the time we finished. Warbler numbers were well down with just a few Blackcap and Chiffchaff, the only other warbler caught being a late Reed Warbler. The oldest subsequent encounter was a Blackcap from 2015. A Hobby flew low overhead. Nice to get a Kingfisher and another two Cetti’s Warblers, now up to 22 individuals for the year.

Kev

 Kingfisher, Holme Pierrepont, 21-9-19 (K. Hemsley)
 Spotted Flycatcher, Holme Pierrepont, 15-9-19 (A. Hurst)
 September ringing totals - summary table

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Ageing Dunnocks

As the season progresses and eye colour becomes a less reliable character, I have been referring to an article from Ringing & Migration (Vol 28 (1): June 2013) on ageing Dunnocks, written by Stephen Menzie and Bjorn Malmhagen. I have found it very useful but the copy I made of the illustrations of the wings weren't very clear.

Today we managed to photograph the wings of a juvenile, complete with 5 old greater coverts, and an adult in main moult, which illustrate really well some of the ageing features highlighted in the article.

Mick P




Sunday, 15 September 2019

Barn Owls

When I checked a usually successful Barn Owl box in June and two adults flew from the box I was a bit surprised that the box was empty. I was unsure if their nesting attempt had failed due to all the rain around that time, but the owners think they may have had an early brood as they had heard lots of Barn Owl activity earlier in the year following the good, warm spring.

We decided to check the box again for a replacement, or second brood. The keen owners contacted me yesterday to tell me they could hear hissing coming from the box so today we checked it and found 5 healthy chicks.

Mick P

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Ringing Round-up - late July & August

Holme Pierrepont Grange 29/06/19 – carried out by Mick T and me in sunny and breezy conditions. A relatively quiet morning with limited nets due to conditions and team size but a nice catch of Reed Warblers was made and another 2 new Cetti’s Warblers. The oldest retrap was a Reed Warbler from 2017.

Holme Pierrepont Blotts 04/08/19 – carried out by Duncan, Richard, Holly, Sarah, Alan, Gary and me. Plenty of warblers again the breezy conditions keeping the catch down. Nice numbers of Reed Warblers but not many sylvias. The oldest retrap was a Reed Warbler from 2018.

Ramsdale Park Golf Centre 08/08/2019 – still but sunny conditions. Duncan, Sarah, Holly, Mick T, Gary and I put up the usual line of nets. A steady morning the only real surprise being a Tree Pipit. The oldest retrap was a Blackcap from 2016.

Holme Pierrepont Grange 13/08/19 – carried out by Sarah, Jim, Gary and me. Still but mostly sunny conditions. A very good catch of Reed Warblers was made. The oldest retrap was a Robin from 2018.

Holme Pierrepont Blotts 18/08/19 – a morning ringing demonstration for the South Notts branch of NWT. We had arranged to do this demo last year but managed to pick the only Sunday that it rained in the driest summer for decades! Better luck this year though in one of the wettest summers for years! We had a great team out, Cliff, Alex, Duncan, Holly, Sarah, Mick T, Gary and me. By the end of the morning that was sunny and breezy we had plenty of happy visitors, a possible new recruit and 123 birds caught (80 of them were warblers, 33 of them Blackcaps). Great job done by Cliff and Mick T who did the bulk of the talking to the visitors. The retraps were all birds ringed this year.

Holme Pierrepont Blotts 21/08/19 – an afternoon ringing demonstration held in the ‘new’ Skylarks reserve in support of the NWT Skylarks Woodland Gathering event that was being held across the road in the ‘old’ Skylarks reserve. Cliff, Jim, Holly, Duncan, Mick T, Gary and I were kept busy again despite the session being in the afternoon. Alan was around as well acting as photographer for the Trust. The weather was mostly sunny but getting quite breezy as the afternoon went on. We managed to have birds to show visitors all afternoon but unfortunately there were not many visitors that came over from the main event. The retraps were all birds ringed this year.

Holme Pierrepont Blotts 25/08/19 – Carried out by Holly, Alan, Duncan, Tom, Mick T, Gary and me. We were also joined by Heather who we met at the demo last Sunday. A still morning that started overcast but then became clear, sunny and very hot. We caught 43 Blackcaps which was almost 50% of the 94 birds caught in total! Again the retraps were all birds ringed this year.

Kev



 Magpie & Tree Pipit, Ramsdale Park Golf Club, 08/08/19 (K. Hemsley)

 Demo table & Great Tit release, Holme Pierrepont, 18/08/19 (Sarah Bowler)


 Ringing Demo with Blackcaps and Great Tit, Holme Pierrepont 21-08-19 (Alan Hurst)
Ringing totals summary table

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Recent ringing at Holme Pierrepont

We have paid three more visits to Holme Pierrepont recently on 14, 16 and 21 July. The visit on 16 was to the Grange end the other two to the Blotts end.

Weather was relatively good for all visits but strangely on 21 when it was ideal we caught the least birds!

The team on the 14th consisted of Holly, Sophie, Alan, Kate, Sarah, Richard, Alex, Mick T, Gary and me. We finished on 106 birds including 15 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Song Thrush 1/1, Blackbird 2/0, Robin 3/0, Wren 2/0, Dunnock 1/0, Willow Warbler 7/1, Chiffchaff 8/2, Blackcap 5/2, Garden Warbler 3/1, Whitethroat 3/0, Lesser Whitethroat 1/0, Reed Warbler 18/1, Sedge Warbler 3/2, Cetti’s Warbler 0/1, Blue Tit 5/1, Great Tit 4/0, Treecreeper 1/0, Bullfinch 2/2, Greenfinch 6/0, Goldfinch 7/1, Reed Bunting 10/0. The most interesting recaptures were a control Reed Warbler and a Goldfinch from Tom’s garden in Colwick.

The team on the 16th consisted of Holly, Sophie, Alan, Kate, Sarah, Richard, Alex, Mick T, Gary and me. We finished on 96 birds including 12 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Wren 6/2, Willow Warbler 2/1, Chiffchaff 2/3, Blackcap 18/2, Garden Warbler 3/0, Reed Warbler 14/4, Sedge Warbler 2/0, Cetti’s Warbler 3/0, Goldcrest 1/0, Blue Tit 6/0, Great Tit 2/0, Long-tailed Tit 5/0, Greenfinch 2/0. The oldest retrap was a Reed Warbler from 2012.

The team on the 21st consisted of Holly, Sophie, Alan, Kate, Sarah, Richard, Alex, Mick T, Gary and me. We finished on 65 birds including 14 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Kingfisher 1/0, Blackbird
1/0, Robin 1/1, Dunnock 1/0, Willow Warbler 5/0, Chiffchaff 2/5, Blackcap 4/0, Garden Warbler 6/0, Whitethroat 5/1, Lesser Whitethroat 1/0, Reed Warbler 18/3, Sedge Warbler 1/2, Cetti’s Warbler 0/2, Great Tit 1/0, Long-tailed Tit 1/0, Bullfinch 3/0, Greenfinch 1/0. The oldest retraps were from 2018.

Kev




 A juvenile Whitethroat (showing a moult limit in the greater coverts) and a Kingfisher (Alan Hurst). It should be noted that the Kingfisher was not injured or behaving strangely in any way in the first photograph. Their natural reaction to a predator is to go into what seems like a trance, from which they will suddenly emerge and fly off (presumably when the predator has put them down, assuming them to be dead!).

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 7 July

We had another session at the Blotts end of Holme Pierrepont this morning. The team consisted of Holly, Alan, Helen, Gary, Duncan and myself. A very busy morning with calm conditions, no doubt it would have been even busier if the predicted overcast conditions had not turned out to be mainly bright sun! No Willow Tit caught this week but we did have a good catch of 119 birds including 15 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 1/0, Song Thrush 1/0, Robin 6/1, Wren 9/2, Willow Warbler 10/2, Chiffchaff 19/2, Blackcap 12/0, Garden Warbler 3/0, Whitethroat 3/2, Lesser Whitethroat 1/0, Reed Warbler 3/0, Sedge Warbler 2/1, Blue Tit 16/1, Great Tit 7/0, Long-tailed Tit 4/2. Bullfinch 4/2, Goldfinch 3/0. The oldest retraps were from 2017. No Cuckoo calling this morning!

Kev

Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, Wednesday 3 July

We paid the second visit of the summer to Ramsdale this morning and the weather was sunny but calm. The team consisted of Holly, Gary, Mick T, Mick P and myself. We had a first round that was fairly hectic but the warm sun getting higher in the sky slowed things down a little as the morning went on. We finished with a reasonable total of 66 birds including 2 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Robin 3/0, Wren 4/0, Willow Warbler 1/0, Chiffchaff 12/1, Blackcap 4/1, Garden Warbler 1/0, Whitethroat 4/0, Treecreeper 2/0, Blue Tit 29/0, Great Tit 1/0, Long-tailed Tit 2/1, Coal Tit 1/0. A little disappointed with the low number of warblers but Blue Tits there seem to have had a good breeding season. The oldest retrap was a Chiffchaff from 2017.

Kev

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Late June, Holme Pierrepont

We paid a visit to the Grange end of Holme Pierrepont on Thursday 27/06/19 and to the Blotts end on Sunday 30/06/19.

On 27 June the weather was bright but a little breezy and we had a bit of a job tidying up the net rides after not visiting for about 8 weeks. The team consisted of Gary, Holly, Sarah, Alice, Mick and myself. The catch rate was steady throughout the morning and we finished with a good total of 78 birds including 14 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 1/1, Robin 2/0, Wren 3/0, Dunnock 0/1, Willow Warbler 3/0, Chiffchaff 12/1, Blackcap 16/2, Garden Warbler 1/0, Reed Warbler 13/7, Cetti’s Warbler 1/1, Treecreeper 1/0, Blue Tit 4/1, Great Tit 4/0, Reed Bunting 3/0. The oldest retrap was a Reed Warbler from 2017.

On 30 June the weather was generally sunny but with a stiff breeze blowing which no doubt adversely affected the catching rate. We had bumper team out consisting of Gary, Holly, Sarah, Sophie, Richard, Kate, Alan, Tom, Duncan, Mick and myself. There were plenty of birds around and despite the stiff breeze we still ended with an excellent catch of 93 including 11 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Song Thrush 1/0, Robin 2/1, Wren 3/1, Dunnock 2/0, Willow Warbler 5/1, Chiffchaff 8/2, Blackcap 23/3, Garden Warbler 5/0, Whitethroat 6/1, Reed Warbler 4/0, Sedge Warbler 1/0, Cetti’s Warbler 1/0, Willow Tit 1/0, Blue Tit 13/1, Great Tit 2/0, Long-tailed Tit 1/0, Bullfinch 1/1, Greenfinch 1/0, Chaffinch 1/0, Reed Bunting 1/0. The most surprising bird of the day was a juvenile Willow Tit, the first at Holme Pierrepont for 8 years. The oldest retrap was a Bullfinch from 2017. We were also a little surprised to hear a Cuckoo calling this morning.

Kev


Willow Warbler & Willow Tit (Alan Hurst)

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Great Spotted Woodpecker, Thursday 27 June

I caught this juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker at Bestwood this morning. As stated in the “Identification of European Non-Passerines” by Jeff Baker, juveniles undergo a partial post-juvenile moult (which begins in the nest) including body feathers, primaries, some or all upperwing coverts, and tail. Primary moult begins in or just after the fledging period.

Mick P



Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Attenborough CES visit 6, Sunday 23 June

We carried out the sixth and final CES visit of the year at Attenborough today. An overcast sky with a light breeze to start but the sun did come out for the second half of the session and the breeze picked up. The team consisted of Gary, Duncan, Holly, Mick, Alex, Alan and myself. The catch rate was steady throughout the morning and we finished with a total catch of 46 birds including 14 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 0/2, Song Thrush 0/2, Robin 2/1, Wren 9/1, Dunnock 3/0, Chiffchaff 2/1, Blackcap 8/5, Reed Warbler 2/0, Treecreeper 0/1, Blue Tit 4/1, Great Tit 2/0. I have not delved into the records yet but I think this must rate as one of our best (if not the best) ever year for captures on the CES at Attenborough. The oldest retraps were from 2017. A Hobby circled overhead as we walked from the site at the end of the session.

Kev





 Blackcap, Treecreeper, Song Thrush, Blackbird (Alan Hurst) Blackcap release video below by Alex Phillips.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Attenborough CES visit 5, Sunday 16 June

We were due to hold a ringing demonstration for the Notts Wildlife Trust today at Holme Pierrepont to coincide with a ‘wild camping’ event they were holding there over the weekend. Unfortunately the event was cancelled on Friday after the week of rain that we have just endured. So we decided to carry out CES visit 5 at Attenborough instead. Heavy rain the previous night meant the vegetation was dripping with water first thing but the sun was out and there was a slight breeze. The clear skies only lasted for a couple of hours then ominous looking cloud and a strengthening wind took over. However, for once, we were spared and the rain only started as we were about to leave the site at the usual time. The team consisted of Gary, Duncan, Holly, Mick and myself, we were also joined by Kath and Alan who had come along for a taster session.

I thought the wet vegetation would subdue the birds a little but we started steadily and as the vegetation dried out a little the catch picked up. The total catch was 69 birds including 9 retraps comprising (new/retrap): Great Spotted Woodpecker 2/0, Robin 6/0, Wren 10/0, Dunnock 0/1, Chiffchaff 4/2, Blackcap 10/2, Reed Warbler 2/0, Sedge Warbler 1/0, Cetti’s Warbler 2/0, Treecreeper 3/0, Blue Tit 3/0, Great Tit 3/2, Long-tailed Tit 14/2. The oldest retrap was a Dunnock from 2017. A Cuckoo was heard calling again.

Kev




 Blue Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sedge Warbler and Wren (Kath Ward)





 Blackcaps, Treecreeper, Great Spotted Woodpeckers (Alan Hurst)

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Recent Recoveries

The first recovery round-up in a while - this covers the first 5 months of this year!

A Mute Swan, ringed at Markeaton in Derby in August 2010 was seen at Attenborough in April this year. Another bird, ringed in 2007 at Rushcliffe Country Park, was also seen at Attenborough on the 6 January.

Also at Attenborough, a couple of Egyptian Goose recoveries. The first had its ring read in February, having originally been ringed on site in 2009. The other was unfortunately found dead in May, and was ringed on the reserve in 2015.

An Attenborough Common Tern chick, ringed at the nest in 2014, was caught in September last year at Marismas del Odiel in Huelva, Spain.

The Attenborough Sand Martin Colony continues to produce recoveries and controls. A bird ringed as a chick in June 2016 was controlled at Redhill Marina in June this year. Another bird, mist-netted at the colony as a juvenile in July last year, was controlled by ringers in France at Marais-des-Moisin in September of the same year. A bird ringed as a chick in Rutland last June, was also netted at Attenborough in May this year.

Bestwood Tree Sparrows remain a staple of the recovery round-up, showing that they are relatively mobile between colonies in the region. However some local recoveries are also received. A Birklands-ringed bird, caught at Bestwood Country Park in September 2018, was controlled at Mick's Bestwood site in April This year. Birds from further afield that have been controlled here recently have come from Retford Sewage works, Overend (Derbyshire) and Cropwell Bishop.

A ring found in January at Holme Pierrepont by metal detectorists, had originally been placed on a Blackbird there, over 12 years previously, in September 2006. Another Blackbird met its fate in the claws of a cat in April this year in Ilkeston. The bird had been ringed in Alex's Garden the previous Spring.

A Starling, ringed in the Meadows in 2016, was found dead in Clifton in April, whilst another ringed at the same site in 2018 was taken by a Sparrowhawk in Calverton in March.

A Reed Warbler, caught in August last year at Holme Pierrepont, had originally been ringed at a site near Coimbra, Portugal in September 2011.

A Chiffchaff, ringed in the Autumn of 2017 at Stanford Res in Northants, has been controlled by the group at Ramsdale Golf Club in May.

A Long-tailed Tit, ringed at Manor Floods, Ilkeston in October, was found dead in the town, killed by a cat in April.

A Greenfinch, ringed in Sibthorpe in March 2018, was found dead in Potterhanworth near Lincoln in February.

And finally, a Sutton Bonington Yellowhammer, ringed in March 2016 was found dead nearby in May this year.

Tom